What is the "IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam?
"IP address & personal information might be exposed" is a scam promoted on various untrustworthy websites. This scheme aims to promote a piece of (likely dubious) software by claiming that users' IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and personal data may be exposed and vulnerable.
In seldom cases, such scams endorse legitimate products and generate revenue through deceptive and questionable tactics. However, they more commonly distribute adware, browser hijackers, fake anti-viruses, and other PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications). It is noteworthy that online schemes may even proliferate malware.
Scam-promoting sites are usually accessed inadvertently; most users enter them via mistyped URLs, or redirects caused by rogue webpages, intrusive advertisements, or installed PUAs. This software can infiltrate systems without explicit user permission, and it often has harmful abilities.
"IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam in detail
As its name suggests, the "IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam states that the user's geolocation (IP address) and other private and sensitive data may be unprotected. It then lists the following information about the user: geolocation, IP address, ISP (Internet Service Provider), browser, and "status".
The scheme emphasizes that anyone can access this information and check the user's browsing activity. The scam urges to download the "number one" VPN (Virtual Private Network) application to browse safely and anonymously. The scheme also guarantees that there is a thirty-day refund window for the recommended software.
As mentioned in the introduction, schemes of this type are typically used to spread untrustworthy and malicious software. Therefore, by trusting the "IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
How do potentially unwanted applications operate?
PUAs tend to appear legitimate and harmless. These applications promise "useful" features, which are seldom operational. Fake anti-virus tools are a prime example of this. Apps of this type require activation (i.e., purchase) to perform the advertised functions, yet following activation - they remain nonoperational.
Other PUAs can force-open rogue, scam, and malicious sites (e.g., ones running the "IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam). Adware-types deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns. Once clicked on, the delivered ads redirect to unreliable/dangerous websites, and some can stealthily download/install software.
Browser hijackers are another type of PUAs. They operate by making modifications to browser settings to promote (by causing redirects to) fake search engines. The promoted web searchers typically cannot provide search results, so they redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other genuine search engines.
What is more, most PUAs have data tracking abilities. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, and so forth. The gathered data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
The presence of unwanted software on systems - endangers device integrity and user safety. Therefore, it is strongly advised to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||IP address & personal information might be exposed pop-up|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims that users' personal information might be exposed and urges to download/install the promoted VPN|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|Distribution methods||Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Online scams in general
"Access to this pc has been blocked for security reasons", "CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE THE VISITOR NO. 1.000.000", "Win The New iPhone 12", "Your Chrome is severely damaged by 13 Malware!" - are some examples of various online scams. The Internet is rife with misleading, deceptive, and malicious content.
Popular scam models include: alerts about a software product being outdated or missing, warnings that the device is infected or at risk, fake lotteries and prize giveaways, unbelievable offers and deals, etc. Due to how widespread such schemes are on the Web, it is highly recommended to exercise caution when browsing.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs can have "official" promotional/download webpages, which are often pushed by deceptive/scam sites. Intrusive advertisements are used to proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
PUAs can also be downloaded/installed together with other software. This false marketing method of pre-packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed downloads/installations (e.g., skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is important to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Dubious channels, e.g., Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, unofficial and freeware websites, and other third-party downloaders - can offer bundled and hazardous content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, and other additions. Intrusive adverts appear ordinary and harmless; however, they redirect to questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, the device must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in the "IP address & personal information might be exposed" scam:
Your connection might not be secure
Your IP address & personal information might be exposed!
Get the #1 trusted VPN to browse securely and anonymously
Get a VPN
Your location: ********
Your IP: ********
Your ISP: ********
Your Browser: Chrome
Your Status: MIGHT BE UNPROTECTED
Without using a VPN, ANYONE can see where you are browsing.
Browse securely and anonymously - It's safe and offers 30 days money-back guarantee!
[Later] [Get a VPN]
The appearance of "IP address & personal information might be exposed" pop-up scam (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "IP address & personal information might be exposed scam"?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted applications:
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the ip address & personal information might be exposed pop-up, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with ip address & personal information might be exposed pop-up removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the ip address & personal information might be exposed pop-up, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove ip address & personal information might be exposed pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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